Price discounts significantly enhance fruit and vegetable purchases when combined with nutrition education: A randomized controlled supermarket trial

Wilma E Waterlander, Michiel R de Boer, A.J. Schuit, Jacob C Seidell, Ingrid H M Steenhuis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

101 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background:

Reducing fruit and vegetable (F&V) prices is a frequently considered policy to improve dietary habits in the context of health promotion. However, evidence on the effectiveness of this intervention is limited.

Objective:

The objective was to examine the effects of a 50% price discount on F&Vs or nutrition education or a combination of both on supermarket purchases.

Design:

A 6-mo randomized controlled trial within Dutch supermarkets was conducted. Regular supermarket shoppers were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 conditions: 50% price discounts on F&Vs, nutrition education, 50% price discounts plus nutrition education, or no intervention. A total of 199 participants provided baseline data; 151 (76%) were included in the final analysis. F&V purchases were measured by using supermarket register receipts at baseline, at 1 mo after the start of the intervention, at 3 mo, at 6 mo (end of the intervention period), and 3 mo after the intervention ended (9 mo).

Results:

Adjusted multilevel models showed significantly higher F&V purchases (per household/2 wk) as a result of the price discount (+3.9 kg; 95% CI: 1.5, 6.3 kg) and the discount plus education intervention (+5.6 kg; 95% CI: 3.2, 7.9 kg) at 6 mo compared with control. Moreover, the percentage of participants who consumed recommended amounts of F&Vs (≥400 g/d) increased from 42.5% at baseline to 61.3% at 6 mo in both discount groups (P = 0.03). Education alone had no significant effect.

Conclusions:

Discounting F&Vs is a promising intervention strategy because it resulted in substantially higher F&V purchases, and no adverse effects were observed. Therefore, pricing strategies form an important focus for future interventions or policy. However, the long-term effects and the ultimate health outcomes require further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)886-895
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume97
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adult
  • Commerce
  • Diet
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Health Education
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Vegetables
  • Journal Article
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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